Truman Capone, Yondan - is Dojo Cho of Blacksburg’s Kodokan Dojo. He began training in the martial art of Karate at the age sixteen, starting with Okinawan Kempo, leading to Tae Kwon Do. He wrestled on athletic scholarship at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. At the age of 36 he transitioned from his study of Karate to Tai-chi , yoga and Hsing-i. In 1988 he discovered aikido and since then has dedicated himself to Aikido and the internal arts.

Blacksburg’s Kodokan Dojo - is a center for the study of the art of Aikido located on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Blacksburg dojo was founded as part of Kodokan Aikido under Tadamitsu Tanaka Shihan in 1990

Jon Harris, Yondan - Trained in Judo starting at the age of seven and wrestled in high school. While stationed in Okinawa Japan in 1990 he studied Tai-chi Quan. In 1995 he joined the Blacksburg's Kodokan Aikido dojo.

Susan Dalton

Jay Speetjens, Godan - was first introduced to Aikido in 1983 while reading Zen and the Art of Skiing. Days later he began studying Tomiki Aikido under Dr. James Farr Sensei. It was here that Jay first met and practiced with John Grinnell Sensei. In 1990, Jay ran into John and Betsy Grinnell Sensei outside a local movie theater, and soon joined the Greensboro Kodokan Dojo. Jay has travelled to Japan several times to study Aikido at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and Kodokan Dojos in Aichi. In 2001 Jay accepted the role of Senior Instructor of Greensboro Kodokan Dojo.

Greensboro Kodokan Dojo

Susan Dalton, Yondan - began Aikido in 1991, when her five year old son Ryan wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. All these years later she is still exuberantly practicing Aikido. In 2001 she took on the position of Dojo Manager. Susan teaches English, literature, and Creative Writing at Alamance Community College. Since 2004 she has also taught Aikido as a PE course at ACC. Susan has written numerous articles for Aikido Today Magazine and has been of service to the greater Aikido community by helping organize several friendship seminars. You can view Susan’s contributions to the monthly column “The Mirror” at

Leslie Kausch, Yondan - Was introduced to the philosophy of Aikido in 1986 while studying Creative Conflict Resolution with Thomas Crum. She has been practicing the martial way of Aikido since 1992. For 11 years, Leslie instructed the children's and teen classes, which were modeled on those of our Sensei in Japan. With the exemption of joint locks and pressure points, children practice the same techniques as the adults, along with games, and a general atmosphere of fun. She also incorporates the philosophy of Aikido and some physical movement in her private counseling practice.

Tadamitsu Tanaka Shihan - manages the Kodokan Aikido organization based in Aichi Japan. The Kodokan system includes five dojos centered around Okazaki, Japan and five in Virginia and North Carolina. He began practicing Aikido at age eight, and also studied kendo and practices Iaido, the art of drawing the sword. O’Sensei granted Tanaka Shihan’s Shodan and Nidan. His Sandan, Yondan, and Godan were granted by Kisshomaru Doshu. Moriteru Doshu promoted Tanaka Shihan to Rokudan, and the rank of Nanadan in 2012. Tanaka Sensei is dedicated to a life of budo, which is exhibited both in his focused instruction of Aikido and his joyous and loving manner everywhere. Tanaka Shihan perpetually and humbly shares his understanding of the practice and life, and for this we are always grateful.

The following list includes instructors that have travelled from Japan to teach and individuals who currently lead classes at US Kodokan dojos. Names are listed in the western style with the given name followed by surname

Kodokan Aikido - Japan

Chris Thornton, Sandan - As an athletic youth, Chris was drawn to martial arts though movies and television. He first studied Goju-Ryu Karate followed by Kempo Karate and the internal art of Tai Chi. In 1997 he began studying Kodokan Aikido under the instruction of Truman Capone Sensei at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.

Hajime Suzuki Sensei, Rokudan - Studied Aikido under Masanosuke Tanaka Sensei. He instructs in Okazaki and is the Dojo Cho for the Kodokan Koto Cho Dojo. Suzuki Sensei also practices Jodo and Jujitsu.

Satoshi Izawa Sensei, Yondan - Has long served as an indispensable part of of the US Kodokan Aikido dojos. Izawa Sensei acts as an intermediary and translator as well as a valued advisor. Besides his years of support for Aikido, Mr. Izawa runs an English language and Japanese calligraphy juku in Okazaki.

Eiji Kamiya Shihan, Rokudan - Began his Aikido practice as a child under Tanaka Sensei. Kamiya Sensei is the Dojo Cho for the Kodokan Toyota Dojo. Kamiya Sensei travels to Tokyo regularly and often practices in the Hombu Dojo.

Andrew Grochowski, Yondan - Began his aiki journey in 1989. Along the way he has met many extraordinary individuals, with Minh Nguyen Sensei of Lehigh Valley Aikikai, Bill Sosa Sensei (d. 2002) of International Aikido Association, and John Stevens Sensei of Classical Aikido being the biggest influencers in his aiki development. He has been enjoying aiki training at the Kodokan Greensboro Dojo since 2008.

Scott Self, Sandan - is a North Carolina native who has been practicing Aikido at the Greensboro Kodokan Dojo since 2003. He was first introduced to the art by friends and was immediately drawn to the mental and physical philosophy and how it can be used both inside and outside of the dojo.

Mike Cundall, Yondan - Began his studies in Lexington, KY, while in college under the direction of Tony Graziano a student of Saotome Sensei. He transferred to the Aikido of Cincinnati and trained under McGinnis Shihan and Mehter Shihan. He has experience with Yoshinkan Aikido and has participated in their Enbu in Japan. In 2016 he returned to Japan to teach a seminar at the Yoshinkan school in Hamamatsu with his friend and teacher Mizuno Sensei.

Mike Cundall

Phil Easley, Shodan - discovered Aikido at Valley Aikido in 1997, at the age of 50.  He was awarded the rank of Shodan by Tanaka Shihan in 2010 at Kodokan Aikido of Greensboro. Phil pursues the practice of Aikido in the dojo, and the application of its principles and philosophy in all aspects of life—the family, the workplace, and the broader community as well as the arts and sciences.

Valley Aikido - Valley Aikido is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia and was established by C.B. Claiborne Sensei  (San-Dan) and Doris Martin Sensei (Ni-Dan), who were affiliated with Kodokan Aikido of Greensboro and Kodokan Aikido of Blacksburg. The Dojo is located on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University and is often attended by international students at the University’s Conflict Transformation Program as well as people from nearby James Madison University.

Diana Self, Nidan – began practicing Aikido in 2004, after training in several other martial arts including Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun. She is interested in the development of her internal power in combination with the physical and martial aspects of Aikido.

Brown Biggers, Nidan - Brown initially started studying aikido in high school, after being unable to find the right fit with other martial arts. He returned to the practice in 2001 with the Greensboro Kodokan Aikido Dojo. His interests are on movement and the philosophy of aikido with an emphasis on the peaceful application of budo in everyday life.